This week, I watched a webinar sponsored by TechSoup.org called “Every Kid Ready to Read: Tech Tools for Early Literacy”. They looked at research from the Fred Rogers Center and the NAEYC and came up with these “key messages.”
- Use technology to enhance, not replace, learning and development.
- Use technology intentionally considering implications of use with children.
- Put limits on use of technology and media. Children should be active and creative, not passive users.
- Relationships with adults and other children are most important. Use media together!
- Give much attention to digital citizenship and equitable access.
- Ongoing research and professional development are needed.
Keeping those key messages in mind, I’ve been working with teachers, looking at the technology that is embedded in the Iowa Core Literacy Standards for K-3. First, teachers read through the standards and highlight any that explicitly reference technology. They are surprised to find terms in the Literacy standards like: produce and publish, digital tools, media, multimedia, electronic menus, audio recordings, etc.
After highlighting the standards, they start to look for apps, tools, websites that might support the literacy standards. There are many… and they change often. The important thing, we all agree, is that teachers select a few tools that could be used to support many of the standards. For example, Little Bird Tales (website and app), lets students draw or scan their drawings, or upload photos to pages in a digital book. Then students write the story and/or narrate it. They can also read and listen to the stories of others in their class or from around the world. What literacy standards does this one tool meet? Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Reading. Students produce and publish using digital tools including audio recordings.
We created a Google Slide show called “Early Literacy and Technology” that lists some of the Literacy Standards we highlighted, and some tools, websites, and apps we’ve found that support the standards. I hope you find this a good starting point for your early literacy classroom.
What are your favorite technology tools to use with young children?
To learn more, check out these books:
Technology and Critical Literacy in Early Childhood – Vasquez and Felderman
Digital Decisions: Choosing the Right Technology Tools for Early Childhood Education – Simon, Nemeth, and Donahue